- Birth name:
- Robert Choromokos
- Date of Birth:
- 29 June 1938 Chicago, Illinois, USA
- 6' 2" (1.88 m)
Actor-turned-director Robert Drivas showed dark, brooding power and strong potential on the 60s stage, film and TV but, in the long run, did not achieve the kind of success he deserved. Born on November 21, 1938, the Chicago native initially studied his craft at the Universities of Chicago and Miami. He also trained at the Greek Playhouse in Athens and the Cocoanut Grove Playhouse. Making a potent New York debut as Rameses in the play "The Firstborn" (1958) starring Anthony Quayle as Moses and producer Katharine Cornell in the role of Bithiah, Drivas continued to impress on stage with "One More River" (1960), "The Wall" (1960), "The Irregular Verb to Love" (1963), "And Things That Go Bump in the Night" (1965) and "Where Has Tommy Flowers Gone?" (1971). In 1963 he won a Theatre World Award for his performance in "Mrs. Dally Has a Lover" alongside another TWA winner Estelle Parsons.The attention he received on the theater boards eventually led to TV. Drivas showed great intensity and lasting power in episodic guest parts on such 60s crime shows as "Route 66," "N.Y.P.D." and "The Defenders," and was a popular and frequent guest on "The F.B.I.". His first film appearance was long in coming but drew noticeable attention with the featured role of Loudmouth Steve in the classic prison drama Cool Hand Luke (1967). This auspicious debut led to a couple of "generation gap" movies in which he was bumped up to co-star billing. Sharing the screen with Rod Steiger and Claire Bloom in the controversial LSD-influenced The Illustrated Man (1969), Drivas was intoxicating in his role but the film itself was deemed too "far out" and was considered a failure. Drivas was also quite impressive as the ultra-cool but idealistic son of David Janssen in Where It's At (1969). Again, the film was dismissed and Drivas did not advance. He went on to make only four more movies, all independent and/or foreign-made features and all overlooked.Drivas turned successfully to stage directing in the 1970s, which included a number of Broadway projects. He gained progressive respect with his helming of such plays as "Bad Habits," for which he won an Obie award, the uproarious farce "The Ritz," "Legend," "Cheaters," "It Had to Be You," which starred the writing husband-and-wife team of Joseph Bologna and Renée Taylor, a revival of the musical "Little Me," and, his last, "Peg" in 1983 a short-lived reenactment of the life of songstress Peggy Lee with lyrics and book by the star herself. A few years later Drivas tragically died of AIDS-related cancer at the age of 47.